According to Wikipedia, The term silhouette derives from French finance minister Etienne de Silhouette, who, in 1759, was forced by France’s credit crisis during the Seven Years War to impose severe economic demands upon the French people, particularly the wealthy. Because de Silhouette was said to enjoy making cut paper portraits, his name became eponymous with these portraits and with anything done or made cheaply. Prior to the advent of photography, silhouette profiles cut from black card were the cheapest way of recording a person’s appearance.

Here are some tips for photographing the subject of your silhouette-to-be:

  • Subject should sit or stand in profile, in front of a solid background or backlit window
  • Consider putting up long hair to show subject’s head shape/neck contour
  • Subject’s face should be relaxed to capture natural features
  • Photograph subject straight on at eye level, from a distance of about six feet
  • When ordering multiple silhouette portraits, maintain the same distance and height for each